The details just keep on coming on Bethesda's long-awaited The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and so far change has been the operative word. In the latest Game Informer podcast, Skyrim's director Todd Howard revealed that the old system used to rank up specific skills with different classes of weapons has been completely overhauled. Taking its place is a system of 'perk trees' that will enable the player to decide not only how they want to play the game, but what aspects and instruments of battle they will excel at.
Whenever the developer of a series as old and beloved as The Elder Scrolls reveals that mechanics are being fundamentally changed, the hackles of fans everywhere are raised. That hasn't stopped Bethesda from going back to the drawing board, most recently revealing the changes they've made to the game's extensive menu system.
Howard has previously talked about the new approach to combat that Skyrim will be taking, putting the most emphasis on making players feel as though they are truly risking their life with each engagement.
It turns out that the new implementations of fight physics are just the beginning of the changes they've made.
According to Howard, each different type of weapon possesses its own perk tree that players can use to customize their character's strengths and weaknesses. Different weapons take different qualities, after all, and by removing the old system, the player is actually having their amount of choices greatly expanded.
Howard explained that the company's history with both TES and Fallout 3 can lead to a great deal of confusion, but fans can be assured that they are taking their time, and giving attention to all aspects of the game's development. Whether you like to hack, slash, crush, or enchant your opponents, Skyrim's new perk system will make it all possible:
"There’s a two-handed weapon skill, there’s a one-handed weapon-skill, there’s an archery skill… Because those really are play styles: I'm going to use a one-handed weapon and then either cast magic with my other hand or use a shield, or i'm going to use a two-handed weapon where it's going to fill both those slots.
“When people hear there are perks...Well there are perks, but they're not like Fallout, in that each skill has its own perk tree. So take one handed for instance. The idea is, you have a one-handed skill, and then you can perk that — there’s like a skill tree underneath one-handed, and within that there are separate perk areas for maces and then axes and then swords. So opposed to having, say, an axe skill, that is a part of the perk tree within one-handed.
“We think that… gives us a better balance. You can start like ‘I like one-handed stuff’ and then you start specializing as you raise that skill. Within each of those trees there are different weapon types that you can then get better at... Without saying what they all are, so they actually have a gameplay difference”
Nothing is more frustrating than realizing that your time and energy has been wasted, and discovering that you made the wrong decision on what your character would be without even realizing it is the opposite of immersive. It only makes sense that the developers would be looking to streamline nearly all aspects of the gamer to make it more inviting to newcomers.
There's no need to worry that the game is being over-simplified, since the system Howard details still sounds fairly complex. Simpler or more streamlined doesn't have to mean worse, a fact that Mass Effect 2 proved last year. And Bethesda isn't just taking away, but adding in new dragon shouts, and a brand new engine to make the experience that much richer.
We'll keep you up to date on all things Skyrim, and judging by the past few weeks, there should be more news coming sooner rather than later.
To all of the Elder Scrolls fans out there, how do you feel about the major changes and adjustments being made to your series? Was it broke to be begin with, or are they messing with perfection?
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will be available for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC this November 11, 2011.
Source: Game Informer